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High underfloor heating costs and 7 other myths busted

Despite its growing popularity, a lot of misconceptions still prevail when it comes to underfloor heating. In this article we’ll take a look at 8 different myths related to this heating system, such as high underfloor heating costs, energy consumption, construction height, etc. By providing you with the right information, we hope to guide you towards the best heating system for your project.
8 myths about underfloor heating busted

Myth 1: underfloor heating is only suitable for new construction projects

Underfloor heating is suitable for both existing and new buildings. You just have to take into account the type of project concerned as well as specific requirements when choosing between different underfloor heating systems. In new buildings most of the times a wet system is applied, while in renovation projects it’s better to go for a dry system floor or a special thin-layer system because of the low installation height.

At Purmo we have the ts14 R underfloor heating system for dry construction that’s suitable for almost all renovation projects. This system has a low weight and a total construction height of only 30 to 40 mm. That’s including the floor covering laid directly on the system boards and the insulation layer. Moreover, the ts14R system has aluminium heat-conducting plates that are secured to the insulation during production so that a fast and even heat distribution on the floor is guaranteed.

Myth 2: underfloor heating costs more than radiator heating

Underfloor heating, including insulation and installation, costs about 40 to 80 euros/m2, depending on the structure. This means that it is usually more expensive to install than a radiator heating system, including floor insulation, a piping system and the installation.

However, if you look at the long term, you’ll recover the underfloor heating costs as it’s a more energy-efficient way to heat a building. Thanks the low water temperature and the fact that you can easily combine underfloor heating with renewable energy sources such as a heat pump, it’s an interesting alternative to consider for both your wallet and the planet. Just bear in mind, however, that there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to heating a building and low temperature radiators can also help to keep the energy bill in check.

Myth 3: underfloor heating doesn’t allow for a precise room temperature control

While traditional analogue control systems might not allow for a very precise temperature control, modern digital underfloor heating control systems do. Precise room temperature control is no problem, especially with new underfloor heating systems and correctly zoned as well as hydraulically balanced rooms.

Moreover, if you’re using Purmo’s new Unisenza control range, you can set different temperatures for different rooms from a single location. Using your smartphone, you can turn up the heating in the bathroom to a cosy 24°C, while keeping your bedroom at a comfortable 18°C. The automatic detection of open windows, a self-optimisation function and an ECO mode do help to optimise the energy-efficient operation.

Myth 4: underfloor heating takes a long time to heat up

In the past, underfloor heating system could take a long time to heat up compared to radiators. However, technological developments have improved the reaction mechanism and a study we commissioned at the Technical University of Dresden helped us prove that modern floor heating systems can react just as quickly as radiators.

Myth 5: underfloor heating can only be used for heating

If you combine underfloor heating with a reversible heat pump or a heat pump system with cooling function, you can use it for both heating and cooling. In winter the system will heat the floor, while in summer the warm water that normally passes through the pipes is replaced by cool water. This keeps the floor area cool and enables it to absorb the warmth from the room so that you can create a comfortable room temperature. Compared to other forms of cooling such as air conditioning, underfloor cooling can be experienced as more comfortable since it doesn’t create any draughts.

Myth 6: underfloor heating cannot be combined with wooden floors

Lots of people still think that underfloor heating cannot be combined with parquet flooring or laminate. This is not true. Underfloor heating is suitable for all floor types. You just have to take into account the fact that different floor coverings have different thermal requirements and heat transfer abilities. So, although tiles conduct heat better than, for example, parquet, the surface temperature of parquet is more even than that of tiles.

If you want to combine underfloor heating with a parquet floor, it’s important to choose a stable type of wood that can withstand differences in temperature and humidity, such as oak. Just make sure the parquet or laminate is suitable for surface heating.

Myth 7: underfloor heating requires a significant construction height

Another misconception about underfloor heating is that it forces you to substantially raise the floor in order to make space for the heating system. This certainly not true for every underfloor heating system. While a standard underfloor heating system, including insulation and floor covering, has a construction height of about 100 to 120 mm, there are also other options available, such as the ts14R dry renovation system that has a total construction height of only 30 to 40 mm.

Myth 8: underfloor heating can only be installed on the ground floor

Underfloor heating is always an option, regardless of the storey in the building. The best type, and power level (Watts per m2) in case of electric underfloor heating, might vary according to the size and shape of the area as well as the degree of insulation. Depending on the requirements, underfloor heating costs might be a bit higher for a first or second floor system, but you’ll reap the benefits of optimal indoor comfort in every single room as well as additional wall space. Bottom line, underfloor heating can be installed in any kind of room, whether it’s on the ground floor of a single-family home or the top floor of a multi-storey apartment building.